I could rewrite history and say that I always believed that Claudio Ranieri would be a success at Leicester City and could guide them to safety this season. That’s one bonus of having your own blog.
But that would be a lie and actually devalue this blog. After all I am not the tabloid press!
I, like many others, openly mocked the Ranieri appointment. I just thought it was an ill-fit and the Italian would return to his tinkering ways that we all saw at Chelsea and at Valencia. He was always a nearly man. His last managerial stint before his return to English football was a disastrous spell with the Greek national team.
Last season Nigel Pearson worked wonders in keeping the Foxes in the English Premier League with a great last few months. I thought his removal would work against Leicester.
Another key man in Esteban Cambiasso left the club in the summer. The veteran Argentine midfielder was a leader on the park and lead by example. But unfortunately he couldn’t be convinced to stay on for this term.
So all in all I thought it would be a bleak season for the Foxes and I predicting that they’d end up finishing in the relegation zone come May.
Well I couldn’t have been more wrong and I am delighted to say that.
Ranieri has come in and showed belief in his current crop of players. They have responded by going from strength to strength. They haven’t lost in their last six domestic league games and they’ve won five of those.
Now the Foxes lead the pack in the Premier League after thirteen games. They’ve gathered fourteen points more than last seasons champions Chelsea!
The players have responded to Ranieri’s trusting nature and his positive attitude. He’s managed to make them an exciting team to watch that consistently pick up points.
No team in England’s top flight has scored more than Leicester’s twenty-eight goals.
Twenty-eight year old forward Jamie Vardy has been in sensational form so far in this campaign. Against Newcastle United in the past weekend Vardy scored in his tenth league game in a row, equalling Ruud van Nistelrooy’s Premier League record. He’s scored thirteen in thirteen games this season, that makes up 46% of his teams goals in the league.
The striker is a bit of a throwback to a different generation where players work their way up the leagues and peak in their late twenties. His form has merited a call-up for the English national team and he now looks to be a good bet to get a spot in Roy Hodgson’s Euro 2016 squad next summer.
Vardy links up well with those around him, he’s also a hard worker and willing runner who can receive the ball in the channels. He’ll also work back and can hold onto the ball when he need’s too.
Jamie has been helped by creative winger Riyad Mahrez. The Algerian has also been in sensational form and can change games with his electric pace, clever feet and his pinpoint passes.
Mahrez has scored seven times and importantly has created six assists (Only Mesut Ozil has created more).
Both of these players have now been linked with big money moves away this January but I doubt Ranieri will sanction a sale at that time unless its absolutely crazy money.
N’golo Kante arrived this summer in a £5.6m deal from Caen without much fanfare. But the twenty-four year old Frenchman has seamlessly fitted in at the King Power Stadium and has done a lot in filling the gap left by Cambiasso. Kante is a determined character, who will hunt down the ball all game given half the chance. His performances have been fantastic and he’s helped give the Foxes a strong engine room.
According to Kante there is even more to come:
“I realise I still have a long way to go and there is plenty of room for improvement to become a Premier League player.”
Obviously those three have done well and deserve all the plaudits that they are getting at the moment. But the whole club and even the fans deserve the credit.
Getting to the summit of the Premier League is a job for a strong squad, not just because of a few outstanding stars!
You also have to look at the work the coaches have done along with the manager to help keep this momentum going. Plus kudos for the board for hiring Ranieri and supporting him with funds.
Also a huge well done to the scouting team at Leicester City. They’ve managed to pick out some real gems and it’s all coming together now.
This Saturday they welcome second placed Manchester United. It will be a huge game for the East Midland’s club but they wanted be daunted by the task and will give it there all against the mighty Red Devils. That seems to be the Leicester City way under Claudio Ranieri.
But they need to be wary of being to gung-ho, that was their undoing when Arsenal came to town and beat them 5-2 in September.
Whatever happens on Saturday, it won’t make or break Leicester City’s season.
Do I think the Foxes will win the Premier League title or even finish in the lucrative ‘Top Four’?
No I don’t but maybe the Leicester City supporters and players will be happy to hear that because they’ve done well in proving me wrong so far this season!